Warmer Weather Set To Expand Toward Snowy Alaska
May 08, 2013; 2:07 AM
Interior Alaska remains buried in snow and below-normal temperatures, a stark contrast to this time last year. The good news is that a warm-up is on the way as the warmth over the West Coast expands northward.
Fairbanks, Alaska just experienced the third coldest April on record in the last 108 years, with an average temperature of just 17.9 degrees over the month.
As of May 5, Fairbanks International Airport reports a snow depth of 16 inches. As long as the snow cover lasts through May 9, this year will feature the second-latest date for continuous snow cover at the airport.
This time last year, the weather was the complete opposite. The snow had fully melted in Fairbanks on April 20, 2012 and by the early part of May, high temperatures were approaching the 60-degree mark.
A similar story is found down to Anchorage where temperatures this May are running just over 6 degrees below average. There is also an inch of snow on the ground according to airport observations.
In 2012, the snow depth in Anchorage reached zero on April 25, the city experienced a stretch of 13 consecutive days of high temperatures above the 50-degree mark.
This year, Anchorage has only experienced one day above the 50-degree mark.
Warmth On Its Way??
The good news for Alaska residents is that there is some end in sight to the cold weather and continued bouts of wintry precipitation.
Currently, a ridge of high pressure over the Northwest is providing the area with warm temperatures and sunny skies.
While nice weather persists in the Northwest, Alaska remains entrenched in a chilly airmass as frequent bouts of precipitation struck over the last week.
The aforementioned ridge over the Northwest and British Columbia is expected to build northwestward over the coming days, becoming firmly entrenched over much of Alaska by the middle of this week.
This building zone of high pressure means that sunshine will begin to dominate from Anchorage through the Fairbanks and the remainder of the interior.
Slightly warmer weather will even be found across the Arctic Coast, including in Barrow where they haven't risen above the freezing mark since October 27, 2012.
High temperatures in Fairbanks will rise above the 50-degree mark by Wednesday underneath sunshine. This will be the first 50-degree day since October 4, 2012 when the temperature reached 61.
The last time that Fairbanks didn't reach 50 degrees in April was way back in 1972!
The warmth will continue right into next weekend as highs are expected to rise into the lower 60s by Friday and Saturday.
This extended stretch of warm weather will help the snow depth drop while attempting to bring some spring-like weather into interior Alaska.
Temperatures in Anchorage will also approach the 60 degree mark by Thursday and Friday with a good deal of sunshine.
It could reach 70 degrees in Juneau by Friday for the first time since August 15, 2012!
It won't be quite as warm in Barrow as high temperatures approach the 30-degree mark Tuesday through Friday. However, we still don't see any above freezing temperatures up there just yet.
Stay tuned to AccuWeather.com over the next few days as we monitor the warm-up coming to Alaska.